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Asia Minute: China’s President Coming to U.S. but Skipping Honolulu

APEC 2013 / Flickr
APEC 2013 / Flickr

In two weeks, China’s president will be in the United States.  His precise travel itinerary has not yet been announced, but that’s likely to become clearer in coming days.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

It’s not official, but it’s looking like Chinese President Xi Jinping will bookend his trip to the United States by meeting business leaders in Seattle and talking to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.  In between, he’ll meet with President Obama in Washington and attend a state dinner.

The South China Morning Post reports that a stop-over in Honolulu was under consideration, but ultimately rejected by China’s leadership.  The paper quotes a government adviser as saying Honolulu did not make the cut because, quote, “that’s the headquarters of US Pacific Command, and they have been very critical of China’s South China Sea policy.”  According to the website of the State Department’s office of the historian, four leaders of China have visited Honolulu while in office - most recently President Hu Jintao at the 2011 APEC leaders meeting.

This month’s trip by President Xi comes at a challenging time for the U.S./China relationship.  Areas of conflict are familiar: the South China Sea, computer hacking, trade imbalances.  Possibly more intriguing are topics that the two countries view very differently but where conditions may force cooperation.  That list ranges from global warming to issues of potential global financial vulnerability.  Xi’s visit to the United States is due to begin a week from Tuesday.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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